Transportation headlines, Friday, June 5

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Art of Transit:

Exploring via Metro and bicycle || photo 📷 @singlikeyaminit #🚲 #Ⓜ #MacArthurPark #GoMetro #losangeles

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Metro CEO Phil Washington speaks on career pathways in transportation (Streetsblog LA)

The L.A. County Community College District just landed a big grant from the state to help train students that could end up building (and rebuilding) our next generation of infrastructure. If you’re interested in a transportation career (and even if not), watch the video of Phil’s remarks that Joe Linton posted. “I can’t think of a better industry to get into than transportation,” Phil says, pointing out the number of lives touched by helping people get around.

And there’s this: Metro has an aging workforce in many quarters and there should be an increasing number of jobs for younger employees in the coming years.

Rosa Parks Station on track to complete environmental review process (Streetsblog LA)

A good look by Sahra Sulaiman at the ongoing effort to improve the very busy Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station on the Blue Line that also serves as transfer point to the Green Line. As she notes, the station needs better lighting, better shade and a host of other improvements. Here’s a copy of a draft study completed by Metro:

Sahra also points out something not included in the project — the rail crossing of Willowbrook Avenue on the north and west side of the Rosa Parks Station. “I do hope that Metro and other powers that be will look at ways to make that intersection less terrifying for all road users to move through,” Sahra writes. “If Metro’s goal of connecting transit riders to the community is genuine, working with LADOT and the city to make it safe for people to actually leave the new station will surely be an important component of that effort.”

L.A. Metro is trying to redefine the transit trip (Next City)

A look at Metro’s efforts to better help get people to and from transit stations — i.e. the so-called “first mile/last mile” problem. Key excerpt:

Metro’s strategy overcomes this challenge by taking a do-it-yourself, open-source approach to infrastructure development. The strategy is essentially a guidebook that cities, community groups and businesses can follow according to their own needs, timetables, capacities and — perhaps most importantly — budgets.

“The culture in L.A. was that Metro kind of stayed to its own right of way,” says Metro Transportation Planning Manager Steven Mateer, who worked on the guidelines. “A lot of cites were really excited about Metro being a partner in conducting the planning work for ‘First Mile Last Mile.‘”

Metro is currently pursuing pilot projects. Generally, there is no master plan or timetable, and Metro will accept implementation as it comes — hopefully sooner rather than later. Metro officials are promoting these strategies in the hopes that partners will see their wisdom and jump on board. In essence, anyone can now be a transit planner in Los Angeles. In fact, Metro’s strategies may apply to plenty of other cities around the region and around the country.

Metro finished a first mile/last mile strategic plan last year. Generally speaking, it’s a technical document filled with various strategies to make it easier to get to key transit stops/stations. I think it’s great that Metro drew up a plan because first mile/last mile is a serious hurdle that I think prevents some people from taking or trying transit. Hopefully cities that benefit from existing or new Metro projects take the issue seriously, too.

Oakland airport director nominated to head Los Angeles World Airports (L.A. Times) 

The people mover that connects Oakland's airport to the regional BART rail system. Photo: BART.

The people mover that connects Oakland’s airport to the regional BART rail system. Photo: BART.

Key sentence about nominee Deborah Ale Flint: “She oversaw capital projects, improvements in customer service and a new Bay Area Rapid Transit connection to the airport.”

After years of talk and delay, LAX is finally poised to begin design and construction of a people mover system that will connect to the Crenshaw/LAX Line at Aviation/96th Station. It’s a very high priority project for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who nominated Flint for the job.

It’s all about talking to the right people (Zocalo Public Square) 

Tru Sound. Photo: Zocalo Public Square.

Tru Sound. Photo: Zocalo Public Square.

The latest Metro rider profile by Zocalo Public Square.

How do network changes affect your trip? (Human Transit) 

Houston METRO is about to overhaul its bus network to better emphasize high frequency transit corridors. Transportation planner Jarrett Walker mostly likes their online trip planner which not only provides transit directions — but compares transit trips on the current system to the new one.

So of course I tried it and clicking randomly — I’ve been to Houston exactly once in my life — managed to find a trip that will take longer on the new bus system. Whoops!

Of course, bus system overhauls don’t always result in faster trips. The idea behind them is to better concentrate and simplify service so that it’s more predictable and that more people will ultimately want to use it. Bus network overhauls have been in fashion in the transit world in recent times. The key question is whether that will happen here at Metro, which has a sprawling system that serves many parts of the county. The system can also be confusing for newcomers with many routes running on a wide variety of different streets between far-flung cities and communities.

Click above to visit the Houston METRO trip planner.

Click above to visit the Houston METRO trip planner.

What do planners see in Utah’s future? Bikes, bikes and more bikes (Salt Lake Tribune)

The regional plan along the Wasatch Front calls for building 1,600 miles of bike lanes in the next 25 years with bikes joining highways and transit as the three major pillars for getting from Point A to Point B. Says one planner:

“Many people have ridden bicycles here for years for fun. We have some of the best recreational-biking opportunities in the world right in our backyard. But now, people are thinking of bicycling as a viable means of commuting to and from work, to school and even to the store or church.”

Of course, 1,600 miles is a lot of miles. Will they actually build all those bike lanes? Well, they call it the Busy Bee State for a reason.

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3 replies

  1. It’s great that the construction for the people mover is about to begin and LAX is finally getting a transit connection that it deserves, but how are they going to start construction when they haven’t seemed to have demolished the area where the CONRAC is supposed to be at?

    The CONRAC is supposed to be built in the quadrant bordered by Aviation, La Cienega, Arbor Vitae and Century. Looking at the aerial satellite view and my frequent trips to LAX where I pass by this place all the time, there still are homes, apartment complexes, hotels, restaurants, a school, and gas stations there that have yet to be bought out and demolished.

    http://i.imgur.com/hmQijij.jpg

    I have to imagine that is one very costly and time ensuring endeavor to buy out all the properties from the land owners, negotiate terms (undoubtedly, the hotels will ask for a lot of money because they’re sitting on prime land in the hotel corridor close to LAX), relocate tenants living in the apartment buildings, and demolish them.

    There’s also a Bright Star charter school there
    http://www.brightstarschools.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?type=d&uREC_ID=195209&pREC_ID=411893

    Where will the kids that go to this school go if this school is demolished?

    • Because you can’t just “knock everything down” and “just build it.” It’s called the just compensation clause of the Fifth Amendment.